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Kings Mountain, North Carolina, United States
"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Today I love... shopping off the beaten path

Much as I am loyal to my usual sartorial and decorating haunts, sometimes it is nice to venture elsewhere and discover new and interesting places. I was reminded of that as recently as last Christmas, when my husband presented me with a set of beautiful hand-painted barrettes he found at World Of Good - an eBay store offering fair trade and eco-friendly products of every imaginable kind. As an added perk, its offerings are also unique, beautiful and priced to suit any budget.

Much of the same can be said of Sanyork - another amazing fair trade on-line store, promoting the work of incredible artisans of Lima-Peru. A large portion of the store's spectacular inventory, including ornaments, apparel and home decor items, is more than affordable. Even their most spectacular wares (like those yummy alpaca wraps) are not nearly as exorbitantly expensive as the latest American and European designer duds and you don't have to be in a six-month-long waiting list to get them.

While the works by artists from all over the world are delightful, let us not forget the local talent. I know Etsy is a favorite with many, including yours truly. It is a home to my own shop Pyrography M as well as countless others. Stacie Vaughan of Simply Stacie blog and giveaway had recently spotlighted a true Etsy gem - Chilean Dreamer jewelry store and its owner and artist Liz. The moment I saw her work, I wanted one of everything. Liz works with unique precious and semi-precious stones, placing them into lovely spun metal settings. Her focus is not to slice and dice the fragile components into whatever happens to be the most recent "it" shape, but to bring out their natural beauty instead. As the Valentine's Day is right around the corner, I would strongly recommend Chilean Dreamer's dazzling wares to both ladies and gentlemen.

While Pyramid Collection is a fairly old friend, my reaction to it is much the same as to Chilean Dreamer - I want one of everything. Yes, some of its offerings are a bit over-the-top, and some of the content plays more toward the less serious scholars of the old ways. However, most of the store is delightful and fun. In addition to the more light-hearted and sensationalist stuff, their book selection includes some very fine works by well-recognized scholars of Wicca Raven Grimassi and Scott Cunningham. And then, of course, there are spectacular pieces of clothing and absolutely gorgeous jewelry. You might feel a tad out of place in their lovely period pieces (nobody does Josephine gowns at the office anymore...sigh), but something like this stunning balustrade coat is definitely wearable. And don't let anyone tell you that you are overdressed.

Images courtesy World of Good, Chilean Dreamer, Pyramid Collection, Sanyork


Sonja said...

Wow! What gorgeous pieces! Thanks for all the great shopping tips. I especially love the stuff from Chilean Dreamer. Thanks!

Maria K. said...

I know - I drooled all over Chilean Dreamer's stuff and am planning to send the link to my husband as a hint (what with Valentine's Day and my birthday coming up ;-) )